In ten months of writing On Hillsborough, I have never once thought about quitting. That doesn't mean there haven't been many obvious reasons to give this up - I am reminded of those every time I sit down to write.
Firstly, this takes a lot of time. I feel fortunate if I can turn out one of these blog entries in under two hours. Surprisingly, it's the short pieces that end up taking the most time. That's because a a very short piece usually means that I have spent a couple of hours staring at a notepad or computer screen trying to work up something longer, and then have scrapped it and substituted a "quickie".
Secondly, the pay isn't great - in fact it's non-existent. This is just one of my eight or ten unpaid jobs. And unlike a typical job, there is no praise for doing good work - no pats on the pack, no "attaboys". Sure, I get to see an excerpt of one of my pieces on the editorial page once or twice a week, but that is always a surprise. I have zero contact with any of the editors that put me up to this. I still have to pay for my Courier News subscription like everyone else.
Thirdly, I have been singled out and berated for some of my views - especially my stance against government change in Hillsborough last year. I have been called a liar and a criminal - and have unfairly been put on the defensive on numerous occasions because of my opinions.
So why do I keep writing? I have an absolute right to say what I want to say - even if there are those that don't agree. I am not afraid of criticism - I welcome it. Writing makes me a better thinker and a better person. I love this town - I love to write about its past, present, and future - I want to make it better. I enjoy the act of writing and am proud of the finished pieces.
Yes - these 200 blog entries are the 200 reasons I keep writing. I know I have hundreds more waiting to get out - one at a time - five days a week - 20 days a month.
You keep reading, I'll keep writing!